Interview: Matt Hires
Tue, 17 Aug 2010 08:28:32
On his brand new EP A To B, Matt Hires gets straight to the point.
The singer-songwriter performed a little bit of sonic surgery on his single "Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song," creating a vibrant new take on it. He also offers up two new tracks "A To B" and "Rock N' Roll Heart," both of which blend a hook-y pop sensibility with poetic, sharp lyrics. A To B is an EP that's fun as it is deep, and Hires manages to say a lot with just a few tracks. Isn't that the best way to do it though?
Matt Hires spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about A To B, some favorite albums and books and so much more.
How did you approach the "Alternate Version" of "Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song?"
It was my producer's idea to do the driving cello and the acoustic on the song. We released an acoustic version of the song last year, and this take is similar to that with strings on it. The guitars are a little more driving on the new version. It's cool! I think this is actually the fourth version of this song that I've released [Laughs]. It may be my favorite version though. I think there's something about it that really captures what the song is saying.
What's the story behind the song?
I wrote it about four years ago. It's about a girl that I had been friends with for awhile, and the song is about seeing her as more than a friend one day and not realizing that it had been there all along.
Was the video your concept?
Actually, somebody at Atlantic came up with that. I had a day off in New York City, and we went down to the coast of New Jersey and just filmed the video in like half-a-day. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I'm very picky about music videos. I don't like most music videos. "Honey" is actually the only one I've done so far. It wasn't a concept I'd come up with but for the next videos, I'll try to come up with cool concepts. Some of my favorite music videos are really simple. The video for Coldplay's "Yellow" is just Chris Martin walking along the beach singing the song, and the sun rises. To me, there's something really cool about that video even though it's extremely simple. I'd like to try some stuff like that for future videos.
Do you tend to read a lot when you're writing lyrics?
I do! I try to read as much as I can, and I find that reading good books and poetry always helps put my mind in the right place to write lyrics. Listening to other great songs helps too. Bob Dylan is one of my favorite artists. His lyrics are incredible to me. They're very poetic and descriptive. I find that filling my mind with that type of stuff helps me write that way as well. Lately, I've been reading a lot of F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of my favorite books of all time is Lord of the Flies. I like Charles Dickens too. They're some of my favorites.
Do the new songs on the EP show where the next full-length will go?
The EP is a little more stripped down. The next album will be more full band stuff. "A to B" and "Rock N' Roll Heart" are the new songs on the EP. Those will be on the next record for sure, but different versions. We just took couple days in the studio for the EP and we approached the songs a little differently. We started "A to B" with an acoustic track and we didn't put too much on it. I'm really happy with how that one turned out. It may be one of my favorite songs that I've ever recorded. I feel like the sound really helps the song come across well.
Which records really shaped you?
Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams is a favorite album that I always come back to as well as Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Bob Dylan's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and The Times They Are A-Changin'. Over the last year and a half, I've been really into Tom Petty. Ever since I saw him live, 80 percent of what I've listened to is Tom Petty. Of his records, Damn the Torpedoes is my favorite. Wilco's Summerteeth is a little happier than Yankee Hotel Fox Trot, but it has that darkness to it. Even though I've listened to that and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot hundreds of times, I hear something new every time I go back to them.
If your album were a movie or a combination of movies what would it be?
Wow, that's a hard question! I've never thought about that before. I'd like to think something along the lines of Big Fish. That's one of my favorite movies.
Have you heard Matt Hires yet?